How to manage a toxic employer

Numerous inquiries into the subject of the toxic employer or boss present a worrying picture of working conditions and work stress.

56% of American employees describe their employer as moderately to highly toxic. 75% consider that "their boss is the most stressful factor of their day at work". Impressive are the numbers of employees who at some point in their career left a position because of their boss.

Almost all of us have some relative experience from a difficult employer but it is important to distinguish the difficult, demanding employer from the toxic one. In the latter case the situation can be very serious and requires special handling and a change of mentality.

“How can I cope with this daily routine?”
Let's be clear about our position, working conditions and our expectations of the job. All positions have difficulties and limitations and we must accept it and stop comparing it to an ideal, unrealistic situation that exists only in our imagination.

Let's also look at what this job offers us. Maybe the subject is very important to us. To fill our lives with meaning and purpose, maybe we like our colleagues and it serves our schedule, maybe the salary and benefits are really worth it. All of the above are ways of framing the difficult situation. But beyond the situation, it helps to see ourselves and the employer differently.

Why do some people irritate us and make our lives difficult with their behavior?
The main reason may be the motivations we attribute to them. We get angry because we "interpret" the motives behind the behaviors, we take it, as we say, personally. When a difficult employer observes us, does not recognize our value or pressures us, we are ready to consider doing so to diminish or offend us. But perhaps this has to do with the relationship we have with ourselves and with personal negative beliefs. We may think that it is normal for us to be diminished, and we subconsciously look for signs to confirm these beliefs. It also functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, what I believe and think about myself inadvertently shapes my behavior, and my behavior provokes the behavior of others.

Mine is the only person I have ever met, who knows so well not to listen. Do not even pay attention to you. To want to say his own and ignore you in whatever you want to say. He is like a 15-year-old spoiled boy in the body of a 45-year-old. Scenes are infinite, I do not know what to mention first.


But what happens when we face an offensive, intolerant, "bad" employer?
If we consider that the cause of the problem is not us. That the way this person behaves stems from his own issues, that he is suffering internally for some reason we do not know, then we can remain calm and not be affected emotionally. Imagine the sadness or loneliness that our employer may experience, the insecurities and anxieties that may plague him or her and lead to these behaviors. By changing the way we see things, the things we see change and so do the emotions. I no longer feel anger but sadness, compassion for the person I have towards me and his problems.

As a practicing lawyer, I can tell at least one story. The employer who literally locked me in a room to work as a secretary and when I left (of course) wished me to find a job that suits me and not that of a lawyer. I share it because it is simply not worth accepting insults simply because someone is in a position of power.


My grandmother died Tuesday night, I was inconsolable… I went to work on Wednesday and I said "Thursday, Friday I will be in Cyprus, I lost my grandmother". And he answered "Since the funeral is tomorrow, we find it an exaggeration to miss 2 days!"


And some more practical instructions
It's a good idea to discuss the problem with the employer, but the chances of a difficult employer being receptive are probably slim. In this case we test clear requests for what we need. We explain our reasoning and how we will help him and the business. We prepare what we have to say and counter-arguments and choose the most appropriate moment to speak.

We create a support network. Both inside and outside the workplace, people who can support us emotionally and practically in adversity are very important. We are first and foremost supportive of others. This is how a network of colleagues is built, but also of friends or family, in which we can seek support. Many times the help of a specialist, coach, counselor or psychotherapist can be catalytic.

In large companies, consider the possibility of contacting the Human Resources Department, having first inquired whether in previous cases it was supportive of the employee. You can also request a transfer within the same company taking advantage of your acquaintances and relationships with colleagues from other departments.

Maybe it's time to leave…
Sometimes the best solution is to give up. As difficult as it may seem, as many excuses as we find not to do it, as emotionally exhausted as we feel there are some indications that it is time to leave. If you are intolerant of going to work every morning, if you feel insecure, emotional or even physical. If you are constantly preoccupied with your employer's behavior and you can not focus on your subject. If stress is following you in your personal life and if your self-esteem has plummeted, give yourself permission to change. Stop hoping that things or people will improve, overcome the normal fear you feel and make the move!

As a hairdresser, I was not crazy enough, I also had my first employer to force me to buy him breakfast, lunch. The oven on the next block was too far for him. As time went on, my schedule was enriched by taking the kids out of school and taking them to ballet and tutoring. When I decided to leave he told me ungrateful that I would never find such an employer again and that I would leave him at the worst stage of his life. See what he meant by the oven removing the chicken pie a week before I was fired.


How do we leave?
We organize the movements for our departure as best as possible. We start looking for another job, complete our obligations and pending and inform at least two weeks in advance of our resignation. Restrain yourself and do not malign your "toxic" employer to potential next ones, even after you get the job.

Micro-managing to the highest degree. I think the worst feeling is working with someone who cultivates the idea that he does not have the slightest confidence in you. Of course, there was no recognition for achievements. When something went wrong, instead of sitting down to discuss it, a passive aggressive atmosphere followed for days. A boss followed who had no problem telling me straight if I made a mistake and I appreciated it very clearly.


For a very short time I worked as a receptionist at an event in which I was responsible for the fund, as there was entrance. My employer, whom I knew personally, in addition to paying me a very small amount, when it came time to fund, came drunk. The result; The fund should be minus. And give me the "where did they go" and the "where did you go wrong", "you are not focused" etc. The next day he would take me to tell me that the amount that was missing was not 50 euros, but 12.34. Obviously this was not the case either. When I answered that I want to end our cooperation, the answer was: "Young children, you are badly educated, you do not know what it is like to work!". Okay, now that I know, I'll go below. Thanks for the life lesson.